Julia Hebb, 37-year old mother of two and student of Adult Nursing at Salford University in Manchester, has been named as the winner of the Motors.co.uk Most Deserving Student Award.

Lucky Julia was nominated for the award by her best friend Gillian Turner, whose praise of her lifelong friend’s ‘strength, compassion and desire to help everyone around her’ was truly heartfelt.

Having been chosen to be in the final with four other amazing nominees, Julia’s story obviously had a very positive effect on the public. She received the highest number of votes, and will be presented with her award later this month: a Peugeot 107 car worth £5,000 (€6,000).

Having raised two children that her best friend describes as ‘the most amazing kids I know’, Julia returned to education at age 34, completed her GCSEs, followed by an Access to Nursing course that in turn gained her entrance to an Adult Nursing degree at Salford University.

Julia’s daughter achieved either A or A* grades in all of 14 of the GCSEs she had taken and her son Tyler was able to overcome autism and Asperger’s Syndrome to study plumbing at college. Julia had not only developed a method to encourage his speech, but had fought hard for her son to be accepted into a mainstream school.

The technique Julia used to develop Tyler’s speech involved singing him his favourite song while doing all the corresponding dance movements, and it was not long until he learned to imitate her, first with sounds, which then turned into words. After telling Tyler occupational therapist about her discovery, the therapist asked Julia for her permission for the technique to be used for parents of children with problems similar to those that Tyler has faced as a guide to help them.   

Julia, whose life goal is to become a nurse, was delighted to win the award, saying “I felt very overwhelmed just having been nominated by Gillian. When she finally told me, I was already one of the chosen 5 finalists. Winning the competition means so much. The car will improve my commuting needs, but also, just having been voted the ‘Most Deserving Student’ is a huge reward in itself – the recognition of how my life has been is the best reward ever!”

The Most Deserving Student campaign inspired nominations from family members, friends and from tutors of students from universities and colleges across the United Kingdom. Following the awesome response to Motors’ request for nominations, these were whittled down to five finalists whose stories can be read at Motors.co.uk.